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Find the KOLs of your dreams with social media tracking


When it comes to finding the right key opinion leaders (KOLs) for your healthcare company, medical affairs teams need all the tools they can get. Traditionally, this meant sifting through mountains of publications, attending conferences, and relying on established networks to find the scientific or medical experts you’re looking for.

While all these methods are valid, they aren’t perfect. Reviewing scientific research can be time-consuming and exhausting, a jam-packed schedule might make it impossible to speak with a KOL at an industry event, and networks might not be completely up-to-date or granular enough for your needs.

In recent years though, medical affairs teams have recognized how important using social media can be to identifying the most relevant and influential voices in their therapeutic areas. Best thought of as a new tool to add to your toolbox, social media offers a unique window into a KOL’s activity, potentially helping you find the right experts faster and with greater precision. Let’s dive into why social media is so important and how to best take advantage of it.

Why is social media important to medical affairs?

Social media sites are more than just funny cat videos and pictures of people you went to high school with.

For medical affairs professionals and medical science liaisons (MSLs), social media is an effective method to find, monitor, and engage with experts. Social media can offer a more nuanced look at a KOL’s qualifications than what you might glean from just their publications. Observing their online activity can reveal their areas of interest, the depth of their knowledge, how they engage with current research, and the conversations they’re involved in. And by tracking online discussions, you can find not just established names, but also rising stars and digital opinion leaders (DOLs) who are actively influencing the online healthcare conversation.

Gathering these insights can not only help you better understand the therapeutic area you’re operating in but also help tailor your outreach strategy to more effectively speak with experts. This can help you create and share educational content, clinical trial updates, medical news, and other information that resonates with your audience, laying the groundwork for future relationships.

What social media sites should you use?

There's no single "best" platform for finding KOLs, but some social media sites are more popular within the medical community than others. Here’s a look at some of the most common options widely available:


The go-to platform for professional networking. Advanced search functions allow you to filter by profession, specialty, and keywords related to your area of interest. Many KOLs maintain active profiles on LinkedIn, making it a great place to start your search.


A powerful tool for following discussions and trends in healthcare. Use relevant hashtags and keywords to find KOLs actively tweeting about your area of interest.

Established platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter are great starting points, but there are more specific and niche sites out there you can use to discover the best KOLs for your needs. Some examples are:


While not a social media platform itself, Medscape is a trusted source of healthcare news and has a respectable online following. Many experts write articles and contribute content to the site, and many more actively participate in discussions, making Medscape a valuable platform for discovery.


This is a physician-exclusive social network claiming to be the largest online community of HCPs in the U.S., making it another solid choice to discover potential KOLs and connect and converse with experts.


Another physician-exclusive social network, Sermo differentiates itself from the pack with an impressive database of physician-reviewed drugs, paid surveys, forums, and polls.

ResearchGate and Pubmed, already two great sources for medical publications, are also valuable sites to explore as they offer online communities of researchers and scientists actively discussing the latest health trends.

Remember that the best approach to finding the most qualified KOLs for your needs often involves using a combination of social media sites so you can cast a wider net.

Tips for getting the most value out of social media

While social media offers a goldmine of valuable info, applying a strategic approach to its use will help you save time and focus on the specific experts most relevant to you.

For example, rather than spending hours scrolling through dozens of pages of accounts, you can enhance your search with keywords. Relevant keywords, such as those related to your disease, symptoms, or treatment options, can help you rapidly reach the right KOLs—and see the conversations they’re having around the topics you’re interested in.

Advanced listening tools can also help you mine for useful insights and make recommendations on which experts might be more valuable to your organization than others. These tools usually come at a cost, but generally offer more advanced methods of identifying KOLs based on specific criteria and may come packaged with analytics you can use to optimize your planning.

Finally, while metrics may not always tell the full story, they can serve as important benchmarks for prioritizing which experts to engage with initially. Likes, comments, shares, and follower count can all indicate how influential, trusted, and credible the expert is. Be sure to analyze the nature of the interactions. Are they meaningful discussions or superficial comments?

Going beyond social media

As mentioned earlier, social media should be one of many methods you use to search for KOLs. A face-to-face conversation at an industry conference can be incredibly valuable if you know how to maximize the limited time you have.

With Monocl ExpertInsight, you can explore and analyze expert activity for more than 15 million experts worldwide and virtually any therapy area. And the Social Media and News feature within Monocl ExpertInsight combines social media and online news activity with industry-leading external expert and KOL data to help you see who’s influencing the digital life science and healthcare universe.

Looking to better understand an expert’s digital sphere of influence and find the right KOLs for your treatment or device? Book a demo with Definitive Healthcare today.

Ethan Popowitz

About the Author

Ethan Popowitz

Ethan Popowitz is a Senior Content Writer at Definitive Healthcare. He writes data-driven articles about telehealth, AI, the healthcare staffing shortage, and everything in…

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